Sector pays tribute to murdered MP Jo Cox

The Batley and Spen MP worked for charities including Oxfam, Save the Children and the NSPCC

Jo Cox
Jo Cox

Charities have paid tribute to Jo Cox, the MP who died yesterday after being attacked in her constituency.

The former MP for Batley and Spen in Yorkshire worked for several charities before entering parliament at the general election last year, including Oxfam, which employed her for about eight years, Save the Children, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the NSPCC.

Cox had campaigned vigorously on humanitarian issues including for the victims of the conflicts in Syria and Darfur, and on women’s rights, charities that worked with her said.

A statement by Oxfam said Cox worked for Oxfam GB and Oxfam International between 2001 and 2009 in a variety of roles, including as head of its Brussels office, where she led the charity’s campaign for trade reform.

She joined Oxfam GB as head of advocacy in 2005 and was a "passionate advocate on humanitarian issues, including the conflicts in Darfur and the Democratic Republic of Congo", the charity said.

This led to her being appointed in 2007 as head of humanitarian campaigns for Oxfam International in New York, a position she held for two years.

Max Lawson, head of global policy and campaigns at Oxfam GB, said in a statement that Cox was a "diminutive pocket rocket from the north".

He said: "She was as a ball of energy, always smiling, full of new ideas, of idealism, of passion. She gave so much to Oxfam.

"She was an inspiring leader, really bringing the best out of all of us, always positive, always believing we could win, and always passionate for change. She was particularly brilliant at bringing huge energy to our campaigning around the desperate humanitarian crisis in Darfur." 

Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam GB, said Cox "never lost her passion for peace, justice and equality" and the charity was proud of the role that she played in its work.

"Many of our colleagues remember her fondly," he said. "The rest of us followed her work with admiration."

Cox worked as a strategic adviser for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation between September 2014 and March 2015, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Joe Cerrell, managing director, global policy and advocacy at the foundation, said Cox was a "shining light" who would be missed by many.

"We are utterly devastated by the news of Jo’s murder," he said. "She was a remarkable woman – kind, compassionate and a brilliant champion for women and the world’s poorest people."

Nick Grono, chief executive of the anti-slavery charity the Freedom Fund, which Cox helped to set up in 2014, said she was "a powerful champion for the world’s most vulnerable and marginalised".

He said: "Jo was my first colleague at the Freedom Fund, joining our organisation in its start-up weeks.

"In her time with us, Jo was instrumental in putting the Freedom Fund on a sound footing to successfully carry out its mission to fight modern slavery around the world.

"She was one of those rare people who really did fight tirelessly to make the world a better place. And with it all, Jo was warm, funny, fearless and effective."

Tanya Steele, interim chief executive of Save the Children, for which Cox worked as a consultant for four months in 2012 and which employed her husband Brendan as director of policy and advocacy for four years until September last year, said: "Our heartfelt thoughts are with the family of Jo Cox.

"She has been a great friend and supporter of Save the Children, fighting for the rights of children here in the UK and around the world.

"As a member of parliament, she was an outspoken advocate for the children of Syria."

Brendan Cox said in a statement yesterday: "Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.

"She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now. One, that our precious children are bathed in love and, two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her."

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, for which Cox worked as a consultant in 2012, said on Twitter: "Speaking on behalf of all at @NSPCC when I express my shock and sadness at the death of Jo Cox MP, a valued former work colleague."

Peter Kyle, the Labour MP for Hove and Portslade and a former deputy chief executive at the charity leaders body Acevo, said on Twitter: "My heart and my soul are with the beautiful and powerful @Jo_Cox1. There no other words I can offer right now."

Asheem Singh, interim chief executive of Acevo, said in a statement that Cox had been an "exemplary leader".

He said: "Her campaigning in arenas as diverse as Darfur and the rights of oppressed represented the very highest values held by charities and campaign groups of all shapes and sizes and the leaders who drive them," he said. "We must stand shoulder to shoulder with her husband Brendan in his call ‘to fight the hatred that killed her’.

"And we will take the lesson of her achievements by continuing to campaign for a better world for all with the same vigour and intelligence that Jo Cox brought to our lives".

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